Dad, seriously, WTF is up with “Game Over”?!

June 1, 2012

….because adults won’t say it, and kids can’t afford to leave it unsaid…..

Dad, isn’t Jim Hansen that NASA mega-whiz you call “America’s pre-eminent climate scientist,” which is like geezerese for the smartest guy in the room?  And what is brain dude thinking when he says “Game over for the Climate”?

“Game”?  You call this a game?  When losing it means “billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilization will collapse”K. Ceee, I know you’re super-busy but I need you to pay attention. 

Which part of this sounds like a game to you?  The billions?  The people?  The poverty?  The civilization?  The collapseDaaad, back away from the smartphone.  I mean it.  Focus!  You can’t just go “game over for the climate…  New game!”… like there’s an app for what happens after you lose this one.

Dad, dude, Angry Birds is a game.  Climate disruption is just dumping on your kids’ head.  Are you laughing?  Because if you’re laughing, I can find an assisted living facility in Siberia.  Don’t push me.

Maybe it feels like a game, since you’ll probably kick the bucket before all this collapsing goes down. You’re kinda playing with other people’s money, huh?  But when it’s your kids’ money, aren’t you at least supposed to act serious?

And even if it were a game, y’oldsters have a lot of nerve calling it “over.”  Dad, you’ve been lacing up your shoes and picking your noses for decades.  Did I miss the part where you actually got in there and started playing?  ‘Cause sitting here thinking about the horror show of a future you’re cookin up, I’m seeing zero game. 

What I do hear is a lot of yap:  “It’s not happening.”  “It’s happening but we’re not causing it.” “We’re causing it but soon it will be China’s fault.”  “It’s too big, too complicated.”  “Somebody’s gonna screw the future so we might as well get the jobs.” All kind o’ of bob and weave and shuck and jive.  But “game”?  You got some game Pops?.  Well bring it then!  Cuz “game over” just sounds like the beginning of your next lame excuse for failing to deal.

OK, yeah, I get it.  Jim Hansen is warning about “game over” for the right reason – to kick your sagging kiesters into gear before it’s too late.  ‘Preciate that.

But listen, Pop, you don’t have a cane to lean on when you start croaking “game over.”  It’s no game, and it is never over.  Whatever you do now to improve the situation is crap I don’t have to shovel later.  So quit crying in your beer and DO STUFF.

Get in the game Dadddyyy, ’cause when it’s “over” for you, it’s on for me.


Dad, seriously, WTF is up with coal export? Are you in it to win it?

April 16, 2012

….because adults aren’t allowed to say it, and kids can’t afford to leave it unsaid….

Dad,

I’m worried about you.  You are up against some beasts in this coal export battle.  Are you and your green buddies up to this Pops?

I mean, these coal dudes may not be the sharpest tools in the shed, but they got some nerve on ‘em.  Just look at what they’re proposing to do!  They want to dig up half of Montana, load it on trains and run it through the heart of Ecotopia, right over your organic butt, and ship it all off to Asia and burn it…. 140 million tons a year of black rocks – over 100 lbs. a day for every man, woman, and child in the state of Washington.   X-treme carbonicity!

If you and your renewable energy pals were serious about competing at this level, you’d be trying to turn all of Oklahoma into a national solar park, and reassigning Senator Inhofe to an internship with  Jim Hansen!  And while you’re at it, maybe you could bring Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook back to Rain City, so they can throw down sick dunks like this on Mr. Peabody when he tries to come into our house!

For real Daaad, who you gonna beat with stuff like this hefty tome analyzing how coal export will substantially increase global carbon emissions?  OK, so you did your homework, but do you actually think anyone is going to read that?  The coal guys don’t get an economist to analyze the impacts of their decisions.  They just trot out some marketing flak to make stuff up.  Here’s Peabody’s Senior VP for Investor Relations, quoted in Nat Geo of all places:  “It’s safe to say that not one more pound of coal will be used in Asia because of this terminal.”

See how it works Dad? While you put everybody to sleep with your thorough analysis, the coal dudes just go “It’s safe to say…!”  So what if it defies the laws of economics, all the available evidence, and any shred of moral responsibility?  It’s clear.  It’s definitive It’s short.  And it helps everybody forget about this nasty subject and talk about something else.  Snap!

Moxie, Dad, cajones.

If you even want to play on the same court with these guys, you need to rethink your obsession with the truth.  Coal folks know that nobody likes coal.  So — like the elephant that wore a green felt hat so it could sneak across pool tables without anyone noticing — they talk about other stuff!  Here’s the website for their proposal to build the largest coal terminal in North America.  “Coal”?  What coal? I don’t see any coal.  Just a “new and highly efficient way to ship dry bulk commodities.”  Sweet!

But they’re not just shifty.  They’re mean.  These guys will mow down the hopes and dreams of anyone who stands in their way.  In Bellingham, they say folks are “desperate” for jobs.  So just chill B’ham and take a few hundred jobs shovelling coal, and kiss the 10,000 jobs that might come with a proposed waterfront redevelopment goodbye, because nobody’s going to build it in a dirty old coal town.

This is Bellingham they’re talking smack to!  Where the biggest business association is Sustainable Connections!  Repeat winner of the Green Power Leadership award!  A proud NRDC Smarter City!  Nah nah, say the coal guys, put away those green dreams and just get used to life as a resource colony for Asia’s industrial sector.  You’re so down and out, you need to cash it all in and settle for a future that looks like Newport News, VA, or Newcastle Australia.

Oh, and Dad, in case you thought your opponents have any shame, now they’re trying to market coal export as a green thing because U.S. coal has less sulfur and ash (sort of)!  Wow.  I stand in awe.  They’ve got the nerve to say it’s good for the environent when they ship mountains of coal to support construction of power plants that will foreclose “forever” any hope of preventing catastrophic climate change .  (Hey, I know, let’s send American plutonium to Iran so they won’t have to deal with so much dirty processing and nuclear waste!  Mondo Eco, dude!)

Does King Coal have a brain?  A heart?  Not clear.  But tell you what, they got a pair!

Dad, please. buck up.  These guys aren’t screwing around.  They’ve got a gun pointed straight at the future’s head.  Are you just going to stand there in your little beanie with the solar-powered propeller on top singing Pete Seeger songs, or are you going to DO SOMETHING?

With love despite my deep doubts about your generation’s commitment to mine,

Your kid


Dad, seriously, WTF is up with “all of the above”?

April 10, 2012

….because adults won’t say it, and kids can’t afford to leave it unsaid…..

Dad,

Remember how you made me sit and watch that Black-Eyed Peas video of Yes We Can over and over again?  Remember how you blubbered for like a month after President Obama was elected?

So Dad, dude, how did we get from there to an “All of the above” energy policy?  That was the other guy’s platform!

I saw Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Scarlett Johansson singing Yes We Can in that video.  (Uh-huh, that worked for you, didn’t it?)   But I did not see John McCain singing “Yes We Can drill everywhere.”   So now does “all of the above” mean “Yes We Can…..do any crazy stuff that anybody wants to do?”  Sweet!  Par-tay, America!

Dad, c’mon, this is your guy, the guy whose freaky blue and red image you plastered all over the fridge and the bathroom walls.  Wasn’t he supposed to get serious about dealing with climate change (finally!).  Were y’all just smokin’ Hope?

BTW Pops, how’s your memory holding out?  Because Mr. All-of-the-above used to be the guy who was going to deliver “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”  His opponents mock him relentlessly for saying this.  Liberal “realists” say it was “extravagant,” “high-flying,” “over-reach.”

But yo!  While you geezers are debating whether this language was “messianic” or just “arrogant,” the rise of the actual oceans is accelerating as we continue to burn more fossil fuels.  Do you have any idea how much this will suck ?  Check out how much it already sucks for Mohamed Nasheed, the President of the Maldives, whose country is all like glub, glub.  You’re worrying whether President Obama needs to tone it down in view of the political realities, but the physical reality of climate disruption is hitting the fan and harshing out my future.

And Daaad, don’t even start in with me about how we have to be patient now and just hold our noses while he says whatever he has to say to get re-elected.  You and all your Politico-heads think you’re sooooo savvy but you’re pathetic; you actually believe you “win” when your candidate gets more votes by adopting the opponent’s position!  Dad, for real, if you bake my planet, do you think I’ll be consoled by the thought that the political alternative might have baked it a little faster?  Geez, if you’re gonna toast us, might as well just do it fast and crispy.  (Oh, and yeah dog, don’t bother trying to get me to ride a bike the next time I ask for the car keys.)

I know the President’s campaign team has polled the living crap out of “all of the above” and I’m sure it kills.  (Duh.  It’s like asking a Reese’s junkie whether she wants peanut butter or chocolate.)  But maybe they could just qualify it a little , like, “All of the above….except stuff that leads to a climate future that ‘is incompatible with an organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’, is devastating to the majority of ecosystems, and has a high probability of not being stable’.”

Because, y’know, that might suck enough to justify rethinking a few of the above.  Huh, Dad?

With love but zero patience,

Your kid


Intergenerational Lip

April 7, 2012

From “Dad, seriously, WTF” … Adults won’t say it, but kids can’t afford to leave it unsaid.

Dear Dad,

We are writing to inform you that you are in breach of the intergenerational contract.

Here’s the deal as we understand it:  You’re a grownup.  We’re the kids.  When really big, scary stuff happens – stuff that, like, directly threatens our well-being and our future prospects – you are supposed to get off your big old butt and deal with it.  And not just in a polite, careful, professional adult kind of way.  If it’s really a big threat, you need to jump all over it with both feet.  It’s pretty basic, and it should be genetically wired:  when a big saber-toothed tiger lunges out of the jungle at your kids, you have to throw your body in front of it.  This is the first provision of the father-child contract.

So Dad, dude, what is UP with the adults and global warmingDid you HEAR how bad it is?  Are you thinking “well, if it were really that bad, the adults would be dealing with it?”  And if you’re thinking that, what are we supposed to think?

As evidence in this proceeding, we submit the testimony of Jim Hansen – America’s pre-eminent climate scientist – before Congress in June of 1988.  Hansen confirmed that global warming was under way; is caused in significant part by humans; and immediate action was necessary.

Daaad, before we were born, the smartest guy around on this stuff said, “Deal with it.”   Since then, the empirical effects of climate disruption – polar ice melt, more frequent intense storms and floods, more devastating forest fires – have come on much more quickly than Hansen predicted.  We’re in college now, and we still have no meaningful national climate policy.  Dad, are you there?  Are you picking your nose or what?

Here’s some more incriminating evidence – the crazy stuff you listen to on the news.  All day long, it’s politicians blaming each other for high gas prices.  They point their fingers in different directions, but they all want to drill more, even the ones who don’t deny global warming.

Ooo, Dad!  You say our music is rough, but that stuff is nasty.  Hasn’t every modern president warned that we’re addicted to oil ?  And that’s a bad thing, right?  Doesn’t oil dependence cause wars, economic decay, and climate devastation?  Gosh dad, you get all worked up when we smoke a little pot, and that just gives you the munchies.

Seriously Dad, our leaders in both parties think increasing oil supply and reducing oil price is the right thing to do?  “Let’s see, this addiction really sucks, so… I’ve got it!  Let’s make the drugs cheaper and see if we can find some more dealers!”

Y’all are droppin’ the ball here, and maybe it would be ok if it were just you but Yo! – kids to adults, kids to adultsyou’re dropping it right on our heads!  Who do you think is going to pay for this mess when your sorry asses are gone… which, by the way, is soon?  Uh-huh, that’d be us, and every day you delay makes solutions more expensive.

Now, this breach in the implied contract between kids and adults is a blanket indictment of your whole generation.  But for YOU in particular, there really is no excuse.  This is not just your generational obligation.  It is your JOB.  It’s what they pay you to do when you go to work at Climate Solutions in the morning.  Do you, in fact, go to work in the morning?  Or do you go play golf?

‘Nuf talk.  We’ll see you in intergenerational court, Pops.  Please be prepared to testify in the matter of Future V. Present.  Be advised that the court will not look favorably on any suggestion that the state of the economy justifies delay on your part.  The economy and the climate suffer from the same disease:  late-stage fossil fuel addiction.  And they need the same treatment:  a clean energy revolution.

Dayad, you should also know that the court takes a very dim view of your self-imposed constraints on what is “politically possible.”  Ignorance of your own power to change the world is no excuse.

With love despite your lameness,

Your kids

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Kids,

Bring it on!  Since you first started whining about this about 4 years ago, some kids are starting to get real.  Check out their awesome Children’s Trust litigation.

C’mon, you snot-nosed brats!  Lawyer up like the big kids and let’s do this!

With love despite your insolence,

Dad


“Dad,” seriously, WTF: Notes on pronunciation and usage

April 7, 2012

“Dad” is my favorite word.    It’s the best me, to my #1 target audience.

(I’m a fool for the schmaltzy Dad scene in the Parent Trap  – view 5:30-6:40)

But it is not a simple word.   It can mean many things, depending on inflection.  The joys and sorrows of fatherhood – the relentless karma of it – can all be captured and deployed to ruthless tactical advantage by a kid who understands how to use the word “Dad” effectively.  And all kids do.

 “Dad”:  Is the standard usage for “Dad, seriously, WTF?”  The second “d” in this usage is muted.   So the ending is clipped, almost as if the word ended on the short “a” sound.    The meaning is roughly:  “I am about to unload some big stuff on you and you need to stop bobbing and weaving and deal with it.  Buck up.”

“Daaaad”:  Generally spoken with chin down and eyebrows raised.  It means “You are being dense and unhelpful.  Cut it out.”

“Dayad”:  “You are funny and endearing at times, but you still suck.”

“Dad, dude”:  “You cannot possibly be as lame as your words and actions suggest.”

“Daddyyyy”: “How could you?  You are supposed to take care of me and deal with stuff.  You call yourself a man?”

Alternates:

“Pops”:  “You are old.  Tired.  Obsolete.  You can be cute but in an irrelevant way.  And did I mention OLD?”

“K. Ceee”:  “Pay attention.  I am not just a kid, and I am calling you to account now.”


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